BY LEO LEACH AND SALLY SPEAR
Known for its spectacular views, Butler Lodge sits on sloping rock ledges with Mt. Mansfield's sheer ridgeline rising dramatically in the background.
Easily reached from Underhill Center, Butler is a favorite with hikers. From Butler, hikers can connect with the Rock Garden and Maple Ridge trails for a loop hike, or follow the Wampahoofus trail .8 mile to join the Long Trail.
Butler Lodge Reconstruction
After two years of planning, major reconstruction of another GMC shelter has begun. On June 3, 2000, volunteers moved rocks at the site to prepare a foundation. By mid-July, logs for rebuilding will have been air-lifted to the lodge by helicopter.
Someone will be at the site at all times, weekdays as well as weekends. We have plenty to do so don't miss out on the fun. Of course, the lodge will be closed for overnight use during the reconstruction.
Butler's problems today are not unique in older GMC shelters. Built in l933, the lower logs have rotted and the rock foundation shifted, causing the walls to bow outward.
When the Burlington Section / GMC committee began its planning in 1998, they set the following schedule:
- 1998 - site visit, explore issues of permitting, planning, and design
- 1999 - acquire materials, start site work
- 2000 - begin reconstruction
Planners hoped to use area logs for the rebuild but found no suitable spruce trees within sight of Butler. Under the auspices of Gary Sawyer, Chittenden County forester, tamarack trees from the Callahan Plantation at the base of the Monroe trail on Camels Hump were peeled by volunteers and moved by truck to a staging area in Underhill.
Dana Baron's search for a way of airlifting the logs to Butler led him to Joe Brigham Inc. of New Hampshire, a company which airlifts for the AMC. With the sustained effort of many volunteers, a helicopter flew the logs to the site in June.
Other preliminary steps:
- Permits from Act 250 and the Division of Historic Preservation
- A design for the reconstruction with no major changes to the structure
- Work on securing funding for the project
- Signing on Mike Dwyer as job foreman. Mike co-led the rebuild of Birch Glen Camp last year
- Volunteer Fred Gilbert to work on materials, design, and engineering
- 18 boulders positioned at the site with grip hoist
September is the projected completion date. Leo Leach, shelters chair, has received calls from new volunteers who wish to become involved. He welcomes all helping hands and is especially interested in meeting newcomers.
Besides Leo, the planning committee included Dana Baron, Fred Gilbert, Len Carpenter, Gary Sawyer, Dave Hardy, and Rick Paradis.